When Snavely Forest Products and Weekes Forest Products digitized their safety inspection programs, they achieved payback on their annual investment in just two weeks. More importantly, they were able to consolidate insights across facilities to drive action on the safety data they collected.
Snavely Forest Products (Snavely), a member of the MacArthur Company corporate family, is a wholesale lumber distributor. Since 1902, it has been a recognized leader in the wholesale lumber and building products industry, delivering superior material and exceptional service to customers everywhere. James Watts is the Director of Health and Safety, responsible for the design, implementation, and follow-through of all health and safety protocols for both Snavely and Weekes Forest Products (Weekes).
It is Watts’ responsibility to ensure OSHA compliance at both the state and federal levels, as well as meet the company’s self-insurance requirements. Regular safety inspections are a major element of compliance.
When Snavely was acquired in 2018 by MacArthur Company, it joined Weekes to create Two Step Distribution group, increasing the number of employees under Watts’ purview from about 150 to 400. At the time, most of the organization’s safety inspections were paper based. “All our forklift and warehouse inspections came in on paper,” said Watts. “We have 18 warehouses and approximately 200 pieces of mobile equipment – we generated a lot of paper. And that led to a complicated filing system, and it just kept expanding.”
One of Watts’ first goals was to create a single unified document for both Snavely and Weekes employees to use in their many inspection reports. Creating the document was only the first step, however. Watts was interested in a digital solution for his inspection management process, but was searching for a platform that would marry Snavely’s recently-standardized forms with a streamlined technological delivery system. “We didn’t want to move away from the procedures we had established in our existing forms and documents. But we also wanted to make the data and information available digitally to drive insights across our safety program. Some data collection solutions came close to what we needed, but they weren’t as good at automating inspections management and the cost was too high.”
“At that point,” said Watts, “I had nothing to lose. I sat down with Fulcrum to discuss my annual site inspection. They looked at my program, the ﬁles I used. Then they took everything we had and showed me how to easily create a user-friendly mobile app in minutes.”
Using the unified form Watts had created, Fulcrum helped him digitize the inspection procedure in real time. The resulting mobile app was simple to use and matched the form’s parameters exactly. Watts was immediately struck by the ease and flexibility the platform provided out-of-the-box to support inspection process management. From planning to inspection, through reporting to acting on the accumulated data, Fulcrum seamlessly automated Watts’ process, allowing him to obtain crucial insights at every level of an inspection workflow to expedite communications and plan remediation and new inspection processes.
Watts oversees 16 divisions with 18 warehouses which he visits to audit safety procedures. Each visit previously took a day and a half followed by two or three more days of consolidating, organizing, and distributing the information through discrete reports. With Fulcrum’s help, Watts can now enter all the information, including photos, directly using the app on his mobile device, digitizing the audit in real time. He has improved record keeping efficiency by 55% – 75% for every inspection, and expedited response time to field data through workflows that create and distribute reports to the right stakeholders in real-time. Watts can access crucial insights at every level of an inspection workflow, streamlining communications, plan remediation, and new inspection processes.
Having seen immediate results in terms of time and effort saved, Watts knew what he wanted Fulcrum’s assistance with next: forklift safety inspections. With about 100 forklift operators spread across 16 divisions, and each forklift requiring a safety walk-through and check-in every day, Watts needed a way to simplify and coalesce the process.
Watts estimates that using the inspection process Fulcrum customized for forklift inspections saves each division at least half an hour per day, providing a payback on their annual investment in just two weeks. Even better, the monetary ROI is in addition to the benefit of gaining real-time insights to drive forklift maintenance and repair schedules and reduce the risk of accidents.
The success of the forklift inspections drove the desire to further innovate, so Watts also digitized monthly facility inspections with Fulcrum for his site managers. Use of this process saves management 30 minutes per month per location just in inspection time. Combined with the benefit of making the information available in a format immediately shareable with other teams to drive remediation and reporting efficiencies, Snavely realizes significant cost benefit on top of the time savings.
Snavely and Weekes are part of a captive insurance group. To get the best insurance rates, group members must self-report every three years. “They send us a document to fill in that’s basically like a report card,” says Watts. Partnering with Fulcrum has dramatically streamlined the reporting process. “It’s both faster and more accurate.” And with the real-time visibility Fulcrum provides into safety issues and remediation management across teams, Watts expects results to extend far beyond expedited reporting.
MacArthur Company is the corporate umbrella under which both Snavely and Weekes operate as Two Step Distribution group. Watts demonstrated the Fulcrum platform at a meeting with the Two Step Distribution group executives who immediately saw Fulcrum’s potential, and gave Watts the go-ahead to put together a development team to oversee the creation of and training for new apps.
Impressed by the prompt and substantial ROI, Watts is already planning next steps with Fulcrum. “We’re creating an accident and injury reporting document in an app, and we’re going to get it to all our truck drivers.” As the accident and incident report process now stands, drivers must fill out paperwork and give it to an ops manager, who sends it to Watts, who files a claim. “The drivers all have tablets for the electronic logs. With the app, they can report right away, and even take pictures that are automatically geotagged by Fulcrum for documentation. And using the platform, our team at the home office will have expedited visibility into report initiation, location, and status to drive all required follow-up. It’s going to utterly reshape our accident reporting process,” says Watts.
Watts even has plans to use Fulcrum’s platform as a recruiting tool. “There’s a labor shortage everywhere. If we can say ‘our process is very simple, and works on tools you use every day,’ we’re at an advantage. It’s an unforeseen benefit.”
Snavely’s brand statement “Building Business for Our Partners” reflects Snavely’s values, its commitment to its customers, and an understanding of how its business is unique to its customers, suppliers and employees relative to safety and beyond. Fulcrum is proud to play a part with furthering these goals, assisting both Snavely and Weekes in their efforts to serve their customers and keep their employees safe.
Want to create your own digital transformation success story? Sign up for your free trial of Fulcrum today and get started on achieving robust ROI through accessible – and actionable – safety data.